Friday, February 18, 2011

Six Questions for Will Clingan, Chief Editor, Magnolia's Press

Magnolia's Press publishes poetry and prose of up to 8000 words on a weekly basis. Learn more here.

SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a story and why?

WC: To be honest, I've never received a story/poem I was looking for. I would sincerely hope that an editor would keep what they're looking for to their own private fiction. I am open to any submission, and, if I like what I read, feel there's merit to it and been some sweat put into it, I publish it. There's no "house style" to Magnolia's Press. I personally wish that with the global arena in literature being the way it is that these "Please read previous posts to know what we're looking for" tags that publishers have over their doorways would disappear.

SQF: What are the top three reasons a story is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to question one and why?

WC: It's rather simple: Don't misspell a word. Don't send anything corny. If it's the first story you've ever written, act like it isn't the first story you've written.

SQF: What other mistakes do you encounter that turn you off to a story?

WC: I'm fairly easy to please if you have a really good poem or story. I know that's really vague, but I don't want to pin people into a corner. I'd rather hear a writer's true voice and see what comes out of that. What truly turns me off is listening to an editor more than you listen to your own voice.

SQF: What is the best part of being an editor?

WC: I get to read work from all over the world. The writers may never be as big as a bestseller, but their stories and poems mean so much more to me.

SQF: I read a comment by one editor who said she keeps a blacklist of authors who respond to a rejection in a less than professional manner. I'm sure you know what I mean. What do you want authors to know about the stories you reject and how authors should respond? Along this same idea, do you mind if authors reply with polite questions about the comments they receive?

WC: Well, I roll my eyes at other editors anymore. Their job is one of the best and easiest to replace in the world. I empathize more with writers than anything else. I've received several emails from disheartened authors. I wouldn't say I've blacklisted anyone. If I reject a story I sincerely reply to the author and tell them I hope they send me something again in the future. Sometimes I find something I do like and publish it. Yes, politeness goes a long way with me.

SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?

WC: My apologies, I can't think of anything.

Thank you, Will. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.

NEXT POST: 2/21--Six Questions for Kathy Rhodes, Editor, Muscadine Lines

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